A Diplomat in Siam by Ernest Satow C.M.G.
Introduced and Edited by Nigel Brailey
Itineraria Asiatica - Siam Volume VIII
Itineraria Asiatica is a series of historical reprints of books containing first-hand descriptions and narratives by travellers in Asia. The books, published by Orchid Press in Bangkok, are paperbacks boxed in beautiful slipcases.
A Diplomat in Siam. Ernest Satow, British Minister-Resident, Bangkok, spent three months in 1885-86 travelling to and from Chiangmai, northern Thailand. Although his official purpose was to iron out legal disputes over rights of access to the teak timber trade, between Siam and British Indian and Burmese subjects in the Chiangmai region, very little mention is made of this. Nevertheless, his observations of the country he travelled through, the fishing and farming activities, the forests and the ruined temples of the old capital of Sukhothai, make this book a worthy contribution to our knowledge of the northern part of late-19th century Siam that previously had been visited and written about by few other Europeans. The book is also studded with his thumb-nail sketches of objects and places that he found of interest. However, his loss of faith in the Siamese judicial system, plus his contraction of malaria on the journey did nothing to improve his disposition towards the Siamese people or their customs, and his comments on both are quite uncomplimentary at times.
Reprinted 2000 Bangkok
208 pages, illustrations, index
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